Below is basically an update of this post from last fall, when the Penguins won their 4th Stanley Cup. Now that it’s up to 5 Cups, another chance to look at all the names associated with the team that have been etched on Lord Stanley’s fabled Cup, as Mike Lange once said.
From last year’s post, with updates made for 2017 with totals and additions:
The Penguins first year in 1991 is by far the most different from all the rest. They only have 41 names (compared to 48, 52, 52 and 52 in the subsequent etchings) on there, probably in part because of how much detail they put on there. It's the only year where they detail job titles for staff members (i.e. "Scott Bowman Dir. P.D. & Recruit") and the poor players only ended up getting first initial and last name (which isn't uncommon for other teams and in the past).
It seems weird that it's just "Scott Bowman" on there, isn't it? "Kristopher" Letang too, what did Pierre choose the etching? (And Pierre’s on the list of names too, of course for his assistant coaching in '92).
The other main difference is the split between staff and players. There were only 35 total names in '91/'92 for non-players, the more recent years had 55 combined different names. Back then somewhat random players with little-to-no experience with the team made it. These days, the team doctor, trainers, video staff make it over the fringe players. No commentary and nothing is necessarily better or worse. It is, after all, the organization's award.
'92 had the most different alignment of player names. '16 and ’17 are straight alphabetical order (after captain), and '09 and '91 are alpha-order after captain + alternates, so that makes sense. '92 looks to be the 12 regular forwards (in seemingly random order after captain Mario Lemieux), then 6 defensemen, then the 2 goalies and then 11 extra players.
The 2016 etching, by contrast to '92, only had 4 extra players after the top 20.
Until 2016 and 2017 the formatting wasn't exactly the same in any 2 years the Pens have been on the Cup. Even in the Lemieux ownership era there's slight differences: in '09 alternate captains Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar jump to the top of the players listing alongside captain Sidney Crosby. In 2016 A's Malkin and Chris Kunitz are relegated to normal alphabetical, with only the captain breaking that and getting special notoriety. 2017 was the same as 2016.
Another change in the 66 ownership era: a partial owner got more formal in the past 7 years as "Bill Kassling" in 2009 became "William" for 2016, and remained William in 2017.
There's one woman among the 204 total names, Denise DeBartolo York, who was Pens Team President in 1991. She, of course, was also the daughter of then owner Edward DeBartolo, and also is the mother of current San Francisco 49'ers owner Jed York. According to internet research, there are only 12 names of women on the Stanley Cup.
Mark Recchi and Rick Tocchet won the Cup as players in the '90s and then as staff in '2016 and 2017. Bill Guerin won as a player in '09 and then as staff in 2016. Sergei Gonchar got on the Cup as a coach in 2017, player in ‘09. Other than Mario, they're the only Pittsburgh players to be on the Cup also in a non-playing role.
And partly thanks to those 3 gentlemen, it's kind of cool that in any of the 4 Pittsburgh Stanley Cup engravings, there are at least 2 names in any year (and often, many more than 2) that you can find on any other year*. All of these championships are woven together by a lot of the same people, which makes the titles even more impressive.
For this year the Pens added one extra player from last year (Mark Streit) and bumped a staff position as part of their allotment of 52 names to place on the grail. This year also marks the first time in team history that the same two goalies are on the Cup for two seasons.
This year, 7 new additions that have never been on the Cup as Penguins are now on there. The team had a lot of continuity from 2016 to 2017, and an amazing 45 names (out of the 52 total) that appeared in 2016 are back on there for 2017, quite an accomplishment to keep much of the same team together for two years in this salary cap era.
And now for the updated “scoreboard” of total times on the Stanley Cup while associated with the Penguins (click to enlarge).
And by totals:
—Mario stands alone as a part of all 5 championships, no one else has 4, but fittingly Sidney Crosby and 14 others appear on the Cup three times now as Penguins. Most of these are 09-16-17 winners but there are some special cases (Meloche, Recchi, Tocchet) that skip around.
—An amazing 72 people can say their name is on the Cup at least two times for the Pens, which out of 204 total, there’s a 35% chance if you’ve ever won a Cup once with the Penguins, you’ve won it at least twice.
The storied history of the Pittsburgh Penguins continues to grow. What a remarkable run it’s been over the course of history and especially these last two seasons to add so much more history and prestige for the team.